This is my travel blog "Arctic Horizon" that started 2 weeks before I left!
Most of the text is written in English, I hope you enjoy it!
Only 2 weeks and i will start my new photographic journey:
A road trip with my own car from Bonn to the north of Sweden and Norway.
I will be driving from Bonn to Olso, then into Sweden and up until Sarek national park above the arctic circle.
After a stay i will drive on to Norway to visit the the Lofoten again.
The last part of the tour will be the trip down to Oslo - having a break in the mountains and Dovre Fjell where i will try to photograph and film the mosk.
The weather forecast is quite nice. Getting warmer now...from -38 degrees to -15 only ;-)
Of course i will take my Fuji cameras and equipment with me!
Stay tuned for more...!
For the readers interested in photography and gear:
As i am a official Fuji X-Photographer the Fuji X-T2 and the fantastic Fujinon lenses are all i use and need for my photography.
I had tow X-T2 with me and both of them worked great - even at -24 degrees.
Lenses used on this trip are the XF 56, XF 16-55, XF 10-24, XF 18-135, XF 55-200, XF 100-400.
DJI was so kind to supply me with a Phantom 4 drone. I owned a Phantom 3 before but the 4 is much better and easier to fly imho.
Even at -20 degrees i had no issues flying it - as long as the battery wasn't to cold at take off.
I also used it for some aerial photos and panoramas and i am quite impressed about the quality!
Thanks a lot to Fujifilm Deutschland and DJI in supporting this amazing road trip!
Gerade kam ein Paket...über was man sich vor so einer Reise so freut...
Und hier nun die Karte mit dem ersten Teil der Tour:
Und noch ein Paket ... Fuji ist so nett und leiht mir ein XF 16mm für meine Reise. Mit einer Lichtstärke von 1.4 ist es natürlich ideal für die Nordlichtfotografie geeignet.
Bei 16mm Brennweite (24mm equiv. bei Vollformat) kann man den Nachthimmel ca. 20 Sekunden lang belichten bevor die Sterne eine Bewegungsunschärfe kriegen (Regel 500/Brennweite).
Hier ist dann oftmals die Lichtstärke des Objektivs ausschlaggebend um mit möglichst geringen ISO-Werten die Aurora Borealis ablichten zu können.
Für andere Perspektiven würde ich auf der Reise auch gerne ein Drohne nutzen.
Schon 2 mal habe ich auf meinen Reisen Drohnen von DJI eingesetzt.
Mein Fuji X-Kollege Mehrdad Abedi war so nett und hat mir den Kontakt zu DJI vermittelt.
Heute erfuhr ich das DJI mir eine Phantom 4 für die Reise zur Verfügung stellen wird. Dafür an dieser Stelle schon einmal herzlichen Dank!
Mehrdad's sehr interessanten Blog findet Ihr übrigens hier: Qimago
Eine Übersicht über die Produkte von DJI findet Ihr hier: DJI
Von DJI nutze ich ausserdem einen Osmo Mobile Gimbal. Hiermit hatte ich vor in Schweden und Norwegen auf Wanderungen zu filmen. Ich staunte nicht schlecht als ich die Kombination Osmo Mobile mit dem iPhone 6s hier ausprobiert habe.
Nach 3 Minuten schaltet sich das iPhone aufgrund von Kälte ab. Das wird dann wohl in Schweden nichts werden.
Leichtes Fieber...na ja - besser jetzt als auf der Reise.
Wie gesagt funktioniert der Osmo Mobile Gimbal wirklich sehr gut. Nur das iPhone spielt bei Kälte nicht mit. Deshalb habe ich mir eine GoPro gekauft und für diese heute nun eine Halterung für den Osmo Mobile gebaut.
Funktioniert hervorragend, gewinnt keinen Schönheitspreis, war preiswert und schnell gemacht. Ausgangsmaterial ist eine kleine Styrodurplatte in der Stärke 2cm.
I arrived with the ferry from Kiel to Oslo and drove up to Sweden the same day.
So the adventure starts!
What a day! The weather is so fantastic, the landscape so beautiful!
We had -20 degrees and it doesn't feel as cold as I thought. It is quite ok and hiking at -16 is fun!
The car is working fine and driving the winter tyres without spikes is no problem so far - if you drive carefully.
I passed some tourists with a rental car and spike tyres ... and they came off the road. So spikes are no guarantee! I stopped to pull them out - but without success, until a truck came to help.
My friends know that I bought that special towing rope...and it already has been very useful ;-)
I decided to visit Fulufjällets National Park again. What a good idea, it looks amazing in winter. The waterfall is frozen and there is nobody in the park. Shame I did not pack my snow shoes - so I couldn't walk the same hike lwe did in September. The snow is just to deep.
But i managed to go to the waterfall and got some nice photos.
08.02.2017 & 09.02.2017
Is the road to Ljungdalen open? My navi says no...well...let's try!
The road to Ljungdalen showed one of the most impressive and beautiful landscapes I ever saw in winter time.
Driving at -22 degrees on a snowy road really is fun. No ice...just snow...wonderful!
I stopped quite often and took some (hopefully) fantastic photos...most of them will be shown when I am back home and find the time to work on them.
Shame I could not take some drone footage...it is just to cold and the drone refuses to start... :-(
Then going down to Ljungdalen I had a little problem...
I know...my friends at home were smiling when I bought this kinetic rope. This time I needed it for myself. I wanted to take a photo and drove a little to the side of the road. Not a good idea...but see for yourself in the video ;-)
Nothing is broken and I learned my lesson!
Part of the road to Tansbyn was very icy and for the first time I really had problems driving on the road. Thank God these icy conditions only lasted for about 3 kilometers...just when I thought about using my chains the conditions got better and "normal" driving was possible again.
I arrived at my B&B (Långänge Bed & Breakfast) - wonderful! I got a full house for myself and a very warm welcome. Perfect! I will stay here for 2 nights and just explore Östersund a bit and relax.
After all I found a cosy place to have a sun bath...without to much heat ;-)
10.02.2017 & 11.02.2017
Friday - already?
Today I will be driving to Sorsele. This is a driving day - no other activities planned.
I have some problems with my brakes...in the morning the pedal is totally stiff and it takes about 30 seconds until it is usable again. Hopefully no defect...I still hope it is just the cold.
The road to Sorsele is very icy. When stopping for some photos I really have to pay attention ... it is really slippery if you exit the car.
Still there is always time for some photos...
On a long drive like today you have a lot of time to reflect ... I really have to be thankful to be able to do a trip like this. One week on the road and until now it's really great. On top there are still 4 weeks left - a lot of time for great adventures!
I really wish i could still share my adventures with my parents and my uncle...
I have a break in Vilhelmina where there is a funny contest.
7 people sitting on ice-chairs at -20 degrees. The contest lasts for 48 hours. The winner(s) who do not give up get(s) around 2000 Euro. Why did they build an ice church next to them...? Asking if this is a really hard contest i am told that a German tourist tried it a few years ago. He gave up after 4 hours...because of his shoes not being warm enough!
I arrive in Sorsele around 5 pm - it's already dark. The owner of Holmen B&B is on his way to fetch some other clients but there is a key for me and I can enter the house. It is very nice and modern inside - the room is perfect.
The day before I decided not to drive straight up to Porjus but to visit Storforsen - a big waterfall in Sweden. I will stay at Hotell Storforsen, situated directly in front of the waterfall. A perfect location.
If I manage to arrive early i might get some nice photos, the weather is absolutely fantastic again. The next day I start quite early in Sorsele, having problems with the brakes again :-(, and arrive just in time at Storforsen to take some photos.
But see for yourself...
12.02.2017 & 13.02.2017
Storforsen and also the Hotel Storforsen has been great. And what a luck I arrived early enough to capture some really nice shots with this wonderful sunlight.
It is Sunday morning and it is cloudy but I try my luck again. I shoot some details of ice and some monochrome landscapes. Nobody else is here and I wonder why people do not get out early. It really is fantastic to see the daylight creeping into the shadows to open the view to something one didn't see before.
It's -18 degrees but it feels a lot colder. The weather forecast is very strange. It shall be up to +5 degrees within the next few hours. We will see - but that wouldn't be good for the roads. They would get even more icy...so I really hope for cold weather.
One hour later and here we go - +2 degrees. That makes 20 degrees difference in 1 hour - WOW!
On my way to Porjus I cross the arctic circle and the signs of a knife maker we already saw in September. As I am not in a hurry I take the little icy road to his house and have a look.
It turns out the the knife maker is German - it's Wolfgang Alwart. A very nice and friendly guy worth a visit! Konst och Handverk and a coffee!
While talking he recommends a little imbiss at Porjus driven by a woman from Thailand who lived in Koblenz/Germany before. What a climate change...from Thailand to Germany to Swedish Lapland!
Porjus is a nice little village and my B&B (Arctic colors Porjus) is wonderful. Steve gives me a warm welcome. I have a fantastic view from my apartment to the frozen lake.
As my friend in Porjus is ill I plan to go to Laponia the next day to photograph some landscapes.
The temperature gets even warmer, the roads very icy and slippery and the wind is so strong that photographing is nearly not possible. Steve is also on his way and we meet quite often on this wonderful tour.
The wind is so strong that the tripod just falls down - and holding the camera in your hands to take a photo is a real challenge. I still get a few good shots that are not blurred.
14.02.2017 & 15.02.2017
What a luck ... the weather stays really good. Ok, some clouds ... but all in all it is just amazing how lucky I have been so far.
You wouldn't believe it when you saw my car. So he is getting a wellness voucher today ;-)
Btw. - i shot some rare clouds yesterday! There is an article about it at SpaceWeather...very interesting to read!
The phenomenon is called POLAR STRATOSPHERIC CLOUDS...
Travelling around Porjus is pure fun. After that stormy day I decide to drive to Kvikkjokk today. We have been there in September and it was just beautiful. But the road is very icy and I do not manage to get there in time. Instead I decide to drive slowly and just relax a bit.
The light is not really good for photography today and that's totally ok for me. I already have so many photos from the last days on my computer - a lot of work is waiting for me.
The next day (Wednesday) starts with a lot of sunshine. Perfect for another trip to Laponia - this time without storm!
On my way I pass the viewpoint where I could barely stand on my feeds on that stormy day. This time it is perfect and I take some photos and panoramas...btw. this is the last photo taken with my Fuji XF 10-24 lens... :-(
There are so many locations to stop over and take photos...really amazing!
This time I will try to hike to that "famous" waterfall. In my imagination there is a blue icy waterfall - worth a lot of photos.
I find the place where the little walk starts, get my snowshoes and here we go. The waterfall is so tiny that I barely can see it. First I think I might be at the wrong place...but no...
I decide to take at least a timelaps and then it happens. My camera falls off the tripod and the 10-24 lens is totally damaged. The camera is ok...but still...
I really would miss that lens in Norway where you have all these huge mountains etc.
Thanks to Fuji Germany a replacement lens is already on its way to me...thank you very much! Really fantastic service!
Driving back I stop over for some drone shots - if only the dynamic range would be a bit better.
On the other hand it is amazing how easy the Phantom 4 is to fly and how stable it is.
This was my last day in Porjus. I decided to leave tomorrow and take the northern road to Abisko, Narvik, Bodö and then by Hurtigruten to Stamsund.
I was told the road from Narvik to Bodö must be fantastic...
Ah...one last thing. Imagine sitting in your B&B and looking out of your window. Oh...it is green outside. Yes! Northern lights. I went out to photograph them and later, in bed, I could see them through my window. How fantastic is that? Arcitc Colors B&B!
16. & 17. and 18.02.2017
My days in Porjus are over and I have to leave to fetch my ferry to Norway in Bodö.
This will take me 3 days of driving as I want to stop and photograph whenever I want. On top I have no idea how the raods will be. It got cold again and there might be a lot of ice on the roads.
Mari-Mette told me to take the road to Abisko and then drive down to Bodö via Narvik. The landscape there is outstanding she says.
It turns out the roads are quite ok - well icy of course - and the landscape is nothing less than stunning. Only problem is there are a lot of clouds and the light is really bad for photography.
Crossing the border to Norway the landscape changes and everything gets bigger and more impressive. It starts to snow and I can see barely anything. The light gets even worse for photography :-(
Still I got some nice shots and I spend a very comfortable night in my B&B in Narvic (Breidablikk Guesthouse).
There is absolutely no snow in Narvic and it rains like cats and dogs. The next morning is not different but on my way through Hammeroy the weather changes to something like a snow storm. I pass two big trucks that are stuck in the snow. One of them slipped on my side of the road ... that could have bee very dangerous!
I am happy to reach my hotel where I am the only guest. Nobody else is in the hotel that night - not even an employee. I do not watch "The shining" that night ;-)
That night the wind is howling and it is snowing like crazy. I wake up every 30 minutes because of the strong wind making funny noises in that empty hotel.
Winter wonderland is back - but the drive to Bodö is quite easy. It seems like it will never stop snowing again...
The Hurtigruten brings me safe to Stamsund on the Lofoten.
Home again...! I now have 2 weeks time to relax a bit and hike and photograph a lot.
I will update the blog ... so please stay tuned!
Lofoten Part 1
Lofoten...home again at Anne Gerd's Lofoten Guesthouse - the best place to stay!
I just relaxed a bit and did not photograph that much the first 2 days. I really had to curate my shots and get rid of anything not worth keeping.
Sometimes this process is really hard. Many of the files are at least nice...but we want more - don't we? Still, I keep some files that are photographically not the best but will remind me of the time I spent here.
Like the one of our Snowman, who seems to look up every day a bit more saying: "Wow - what a sky"
When I visited Lofoten in winter for the first time in 2016, I was surprised how different the Islands look in winter. I saw a lot of details, structures and leading lines I did not see in summer.
Hopefully this happens again now!
And again I am very lucky with the weather. Exactly the night before I arrive the temperature drops and it starts snowing. Since my arrival it snowed every day - but I also have a lot of sun.
In fact a lot of everything...sun, snow, storm and clouds. And all that within 30 minutes. It must be really hard to understand how fast the weather changes here at the moment. It is just amazing, wonderful, and I have a lot of fun with it.
You go out and start a shoot in pure sunshine and within 5 minutes you are in the middle of a snow storm. That is one of the reasons I mostly shoot in a run & gun style, you have to be very fast if you want to catch that moment with that light.
We could call it the decisive moment in landscape photography.
Use a tripod...nope. It is just to slow to catch that moment. Of course one could wait for that moment to come back...but when hiking you also want to make some distance. And behind the next corner there might be another great composition in just the right light ;-)
Nothing really great so far. The index is not very high and in the night the clouds creep into the sky. One evening was quite promising and I went to Utakleiv to give it a try. Last year in February there was only one car next to mine...so I was really surprised to see 23 cars this time!
Lofoten seem to get very popular for photograhy now and I really hope that we will not end like Iceland where it is just to crowded now.
The little video should give you a slight impression of the weather change, the northern lights and how i hike with the camera...i hope you like it!
Lofoten Part 2
Sorry for not writing for that long...but the days are full of hikes and meetings friends.
Time flies...and I realise that the 5 weeks I have for this trip are just not long enough.
Yes! - I could spend a lot more time in the north to hike and discover all this hidden beauty.
The landscape is so breathtaking that I find myself hiking or driving around with a big smile on my face (if it's not to cold to smile ;-) )
Of course I have been very lucky with the weather. 4 weeks and I had not one day where I could not go out and hike or photograph. And the forecast for my last week is also near perfect.
The roads are still icy but i got really used to it. They are doing a great job here in controlling the roads! It seems not everybody is driving carefully. Every single day i see a least 2 rental cars that went of the road. I have the impression that these small roads are just to narrow for some drivers when a big truck is coming towards them.
During my 2 weeks on the Lofoten Islands I hiked quite a lot. A big "thank you" goes to my friends who live here, as they always bring me to places that a normal tourist wouldn't find.
1st photo Anne Gerd from Lofoten Guesthouse and her friend Eva, 2nd photo Frank, Natascha and me happy somewhere in the mountains. 3rd and 4th photo just as examples how the scenery looks when hiking.
Hiking the Lofoten is fun - if you like to hike mountains. Most hikes go uphill...and then at the end downhill. But the views you get are spectacular!
On Lofoten behind every mountain there is ... another mountain!
One day was very special concerning the weather. The weather changed like every 10 minutes from blue sky to snow storm with fantastic light and back to nice and calm weather. It was just amazing to see this, but very hard to capture it with the camera. The following photos were all taken within only 20 minutes.
Of course not all days had a clear sky ... some were a bit dull. But for photography it is always very interesting on Lofoten.
This time I saw a lot of photography tours. I think they all miss something in shooting only the well known places you can reach by car.
Therefore I am thinking about a photography workshop on Lofoten for later this year or next year. A workshop for photographers who want to hike and explore. What do you think?
A visit to Lofoten wouldn't be complete without photos from the most photographed place on the islands - Reine and Reinebringen. During my last visits I tried to resist...but honestly this little village is just beautiful. So here we go...
That's it for the moment...no, wait...
Northern lights...still not very much activity until now, but it will be stronger soon :-)
Stay tuned for more!